(WASHINGTON) — The office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., was evacuated Thursday after a “foreign substance” was received in the mail, officials said.
CAIR Capitol Hill office evacuated by police after “foreign substance” received in mail. https://t.co/weCXbRzse2
— CAIR National (@CAIRNational) December 10, 2015
CAIR posted a video to social media of the evacuation.
A video posted by @cair_national on Dec 10, 2015 at 10:42am PST
D.C. police said they received an initial call about a suspicious package in the 400 block of New Jersey Ave, Southeast. It is currently under investigation and traffic is closed to New Jersey Ave., police said.
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad and Communication Director Ibrahim Hooper gave an update to the press following the evacuation.
A field test was done on the white powdery substance found in the envelope along with a hate message mailed to CAIR’s main office, according to Awad and Hopper.
Authorities found no hazard, according to CAIR, and the substance and envelope are now with the FBI where it will undergo extensive testing to confirm its not dangerous.
But Awad and Hopper said it’s more than likely “nothing” and that they receive hate messages, hate mail and threats online “all the time.”
Awad blamed recent terror events and Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s rhetoric, arguing that “the number of recent threats have gone up significantly since Trump’s comments, San Bernardino shooting and Paris attacks.”
“We receive hate messages daily because of our advocacy on behalf of the American Muslim community. It’s frightening to experience the hate manifest itself to such a real level. This will not deter us from continuing to protect the civil rights and liberties of all Americans,” CAIR Staff Attorney Maha Sayed said in a statement.
CAIR is the U.S.’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization and is based in Washington, D.C.
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